U of M student Kayla Koranda shot by UMD's Nicholas Roecker in apparent murder-suicide

Roecker (left) allegedly killed (Koranda) right before killing himself.
Roecker (left) allegedly killed (Koranda) right before killing himself.
Submitted images via Star Tribune

Around 4 p.m. Monday, authorities responding to an emergency call from a rural Olmsted County home found 18-year-old University of Minnesota-Twin Cities student Kayla Koranda in a shed, dead from a gunshot wound. In the same shed, injured, was 19-year-old University of Minnesota-Duluth student Nicholas Roecker. He later died from his gunshot injuries.

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Authorities say they believe Roecker was responsible for killing his Rochester Lourdes High School classmate before turning his handgun on himself. The longtime friends graduated last year before leaving for college, and were both back in the Rochester area during winter break.

A statement released yesterday by the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office says that Roecker and Koranda weren't known to be lovers but leaves lots of questions unanswered.

"The depth of their relationship is still not known at this time," the statement says. "However, it is believed that they were just friends."

Sheriff David Mueller told reporters Roecker suffered from a mental illness and said Koranda may have been visiting him at his family's property about 20 minutes north of Rochester in an effort to help him deal.

"We're still waiting to see if we can get into cellphones and additional information that may be available about what motive there was," Mueller said (via the Duluth News Tribune). "We don't know a lot of what led up to what happened at the scene... [but] we know from family that the woman was just going to visit him due to his depression or that sort of thing."

A mutual friend told the Star Tribune that both Roecker and Koranda were liked by many and characterized news of the murder-suicide as shocking.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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